Big Basin Redwoods – California’s Oldest State Park – Destroyed by Wildfire

The Big Basin Redwoods, a 10,800-acre haven of beautiful old-growth forest, was established as a California State Park in 1902. In 2020, it was completely destroyed by wildfire.

As the CZU Lightning Complex Fire continues to blaze 48,000 acres of land through San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, thousands of residents have been displaced and at least 50 structures have been destroyed. Some of the structures that were destroyed were in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

“We are devastated to report that Big Basin, as we have known it, loved it, and cherished it for generations, is gone,” wrote the Sempervirens Fund in a statement. “Early reports are that the wildfire has consumed much of the park’s historic facilities. We do not yet know the fate of the park’s grandest old trees.”

“We feel like we have lost an old friend. And we imagine that many of you will feel the same way.  For millions of people, Big Basin is the place where they first experienced the majesty of the redwoods—where they were humbled and inspired standing amidst a grove of towering trees that have stood resolute for thousands of years. Those memories will live on.”

While loss of life and personal property is the current concern for fire officials, it’s hard not to feel the loss of this beautiful park. We may never experience it in the same way ever again.

Active NorCal

Northern California's Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine

19 Comments

  1. One thing that won’t have to endure Newsom and the terrible, ruinous situation my native state is in. I don’t care if I EVER return!!!!

    1. There’s always someone who has to bring politics into a sad story for their own personal agenda. California will not miss you Steve Illum! Good riddance.

  2. The state park is NOT “completely destroyed by wildfire.” Come on folks, forests in California are used to fire. Yes, some historic buildings were destroyed but not the “state park.” Chances are, in 15 years it will be more beautiful than ever since a lot of brush will be cleared, more light comes down and more flowers bloom. Learn a little ecology before spouting everything is “destroyed.”

    1. All of the structures — visitor facilities and employee housing — were destroyed. They will need to be rebuilt. But, yes, it’s unlikely that the old growth redwoods were seriously damaged.

      1. 15 years is a long time though, some people reading this won’t even be alive to enjoy it then. And it won’t come back in the same way as we all know that takes much more than 15 years.

    2. 2,000 year old trees do not grow back in 15. They said they don’t know if the ancient trees survived because it’s too dangerous to go in but it’s not just damage to a few structures.

      1. I suspect that in 2000 years, the old growth has seen a few fires….. we are REALLY new on the scene….

    3. So true, more is created then destroyed. Look at Mt St Helens. I was back hiking in the area 3 years after the eruption and plants and wildlife were returning. Today we have a beautiful and new area that was created to enjoy.

  3. Wooden shingles in a forest that needs to burn. Hello. Try rebuilding of materials that can survive a fire. Too bad really sorry but let’s change building materials.

  4. May be true that the whole park isn’t destroyed but those building were magnificent. I was just there last year it was impressive the facilities. No doubt they were made of redwood.

  5. redwood trees are built to survive fires, with bark up to a foot thick. BURNING IS A NATURAL CYCLE OF ITS ECOSYSTEM

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